«»«» 22 JULY 2008«»«»
by Terrell William "Terry" Proctor, J.D.
2008 President of Houston Gem & Mineral Society and
Curator of Proctor Museum of Natural Science, Inc. 1989 to present


My name is Terry Proctor, as you know, I have the honor and privilege to serve as the President in an important year in the history of the HOUSTON GEM & MINERAL SOCIETY.

This year HGMS hosts the South Central Federation of Mineral Societies at our Show, September 26-28 at the Humble Civic Center. The SCFMS comprises the States of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.
This year HGMS also hosts the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies at our Show. This is a very important year in the life of HGMS.

This year NASA will bring a moon rock to our Show and have it on display along with personnel to hand out material on the Johnson Space Center's NASA Extraterrestrial Materials facilities at Houston.

We will have dinosaur track casts on display; we will have some of George Wolf's amazing fossil collection on display; we will have jewelry on display and for judging from HGMS and other AFMS members on display; we will have the Houston Museum of Natural Science display; and the Proctor Museum of Natural Science will have a couple of cases of fossils and minerals on display as it does each year.

Tonight I am going to discuss with you a subject which most of you are already somewhat familiar. However others of you may not know of this interesting event in U.S. History. It was called the 'BONE WARS'. I am also going to talk with you about some famous paleontologists in history and some of our contemporary great paleontologists.

Let us start with the former friends and later protagonists:

Dinosaur Collectors
Friends, then
Bitter Enemies

Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897) was a US Paleontologist who named over one thousand species of fossil animals (some of these were duplicates), including Dimetrodon. He named the following dinosaurs: Agathaumas (1872), Amphicoelias (1877), Camarasaurus (1877), Coelophysis (1889), Cionodon (1874), Diclonius (1876), Dysganus (1876), Dystrophaeus (1877), Hypsibema (1869), Monoclonius (1876), Paronychodon (1876), Pteropelyx (1889), Tichosteus (1877), and others. He also named the dinosaur families: Camarasauridae (1877), Compsognathidae (1875), Hadrosauridae (1869), Iguanodontidae (1869), and Scelidosauridae (1869). The dinosaur Drinker was named by R. Bakker, P. Galton, Siegwarth & Filla in 1990 as a tribute to Cope. Othniel C. Marsh (1831-1899) was a US Paleontologist from Yale University who named the dinosaur suborder Theropoda (1881), Sauropoda (1878). He named named roughly 500 new species of fossil animals (they were found by Marsh and his many fossil hunters). Marsh named the following dinosaur genera: Allosaurus (1877), Ammosaurus (1890), Anchisaurus (1885), Apatosaurus (1877), Atlantosaurus (1877), Barosaurus (1890), Camptosaurus (1885), Ceratops (1888), Ceratosaurus (1884), Claosaurus (1890), Coelurus (1879), Creosaurus (1878), Diplodocus (1878), Diracodon (1881), Dryosaurus (1894), Dryptosaurus (1877), Labrosaurus (1896), Laosaurus (1878), Nanosaurus (1877), Nodosaurus (1889), Ornithomimus (1890), Pleurocoelus (1891), Priconodon (1888), Stegosaurus (1877), Torosaurus (1891), Triceratops (1889), Tripriodon (1889). He named the suborders Ceratopsia (1890), Ceratosauria (1884), Ornithopoda (1881), Stegosauria (1877), and Theropoda. He named the families Allosauridae (1878), Anchisauridae (1885), Camptosauridae (1885), Ceratopsidae (1890), Ceratosauridae, Coeluridae, Diplodocidae (1884), Dryptosauridae, Nodosauridae (1890), Ornithomimidae (1890), Plateosauridae (1895), and Stegosauridae (1880). He also named many individual species of dinosaurs. The dinosaur Othnielia was named in 1977 by P. Galton as a tribute to Marsh, as was Marshosaurus bicentesmus (Madsen, 1976).

EDWARD DRINKER COPE (July 28, 1840–April 12, 1897)

American paleontologist and comparative anatomist. Cope was also recognized for work as a herpetologist (reptiles) and ichthyologist (fish).

He was born not far from Philadelphia and named after a family friend and philanthropist of local renown, Edward Drinker, and lived on an eight acre farm. His father, Alfred Cope, was a wealthy Quaker merchant. Cope had no formal university education, but would become one of the most accomplished paleontologists of his time, finding and cataloging numerous vertebrate species, especially dinosaurs, which had been on Earth in prehistoric times. Cope is best known for his highly publicized Bone Wars with O. C. Marsh, resulting in their race to publish their findings thereby providing to each the first place in naming that species in each of their discoveries. This race consumed Cope's finances and life. He went through the American West searching for fossils and named over 1,000 vertebrate species and published over 600 separate titles. He was a staunch believer in Lamarck theory, as a Neo-Lamarckist. This became a point of ridicule by of many of his peers at the American Philosophical Society and by his protagonist, O.C. Marsh. His most established theories on the origin of mammalian molars and the Cope’s Law on the gradual enlargement of mammalian species are considered his best generalized theories. However, these are now generally considered discredited theories. With no formal university education, Cope would become one of the most accomplished paleontologists of his time, devoting his life to a quest to find and catalogue the vertebrate species that had once roamed the earth. In less than 40 years as a scientist Cope published over 1,200 scientific papers, a record that still stands to this day. These include three major volumes: On the Origin of Genera (1867), The Vertebrata of the Tertiary Formations of the West (1884: "Cope's bible") and The Origin of the Fittest: Essays in Evolution (1887). He was an active member of many different scientific societies, most notably the American Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical society. (some of the above information is from Wikipedia on Cope)

This seems to be the only available photo of
Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897)

OTHNIEL CHARLES MARSH (October 29, 1831 – March 18, 1899)

Marsh was born in Lockport, New York. He graduated Yale College in 1860, and studied geology and mineralogy in the Sheffield Scientific School, New Haven. Later he studied paleontology and anatomy in Berlin, Heidelberg and Breslau. He returned to the United States in 1866 and was appointed professor of vertebrate paleontology at Yale University.

The chair of paleontology which Marsh occupied at Yale was endowed for him by his wealthy uncle, George Peabody, who further established and endowed the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale. Marsh's collections remain at that museum to this day. Because of the Uncle's generous donations to Yale, Marsh was not required to teach classes as the paleontology chair professor there.

It is said that Marsh had a reputation of being an "armchair paleontologist" who was too busy to work in the field and who owed his high standing as a paleontologist, not to genius but to luck and his family's money. Some claim that his contributions to geology were not of particularly high quality, and that his Paleontological work was sometimes slipshod.

However, Marsh is one of the great names in paleontology in the United State. In May 1871 Marsh uncovered the first pterosaur fossils found in America. He also found early horses, flying reptiles, the Cretaceous and Jurassic dinosaurs, Apatosaurus and Allosaurus, and described the toothed birds of the Cretaceous, Ichthyornis and Hesperornis.

Edward Drinker Cope went into the field throughout his career, however Marsh himself spent only four seasons in the field, between 1870 and 1873. It is claimed that Marsh's ambitious, possessive, and sometimes unscrupulous and egotistical nature also made him a rather difficult person to work with. Yet for all that, his contributions to paleontology and evolution were formidable. He remains one of the great figures in American paleontology. (some of the above information is from Wikipedia on Marsh at some from

Othniel Charles Marsh (1831-1899)


The Bone Wars is a name popularly given to a period of time and the rivalry of Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope as they competed in the discovery and naming of dinosaur fossils. The reason for the name was the intense rivalry between these two paleontologists during an extended period in the 1800s. The bulk of the fossil collecting lasted for ten years and centered on the excavation of fossils at Como Bluff, Wyoming. Each of these Paleo scientists allowed themselves to use underhanded methods to attempt to outdo the other, in first finding and naming new species of dinosaur. They each resorted to bribery and ultimately to the destruction of of some dinosaur bones in their respective drives to be the first to find a new dinosaur and name it.

This rivalry between them, ultimately resulted in their respective financial ruin in their respective attempts to disgrace each other in the drive to add to scientific accomplishments. However, their contributions to science and the field of paleontology resulted in a vast increase in the knowledge of dinosaurs. Earth scientists are still cataloguing Cope and Marsh's finds. During the bone wars, between Cope and Marsh, there were over 142 new species of dinosaurs discovered. There were 1,818 species or genera of fossil vertebrates described between them.

The result of the Bone Wars was a huge increase in knowledge of ancient life and especially there was a huge increase in the public's interest in dinosaurs. This in turn led to the continued excavation of not only dinosaur fossils, but many other prehistoric animals in North America since the Bone Wars, which excavation continues today at least as strong as ever. There have been a number of books written about the Bone Wars and there is even a board game.

Some background on the rivalry between Cope and Marsh:

Cope and Marsh met at the University of Berlin as they had a common interest in the study of fossils. Marsh was able to establish himself as a professor at Yale, without teaching duties, primarily because his uncle, George Peabody (February 18, 1795 – November 4, 1869) had made a generous endowment to Yale University. Peabody was an entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded the Peabody Institute at Yale University, then in 1837 moved to London where he lived for the rest of his life. Peabody is the acknowledged father of modern philanthropy, having established the practice later followed by Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates, and some say Johns Hopkins and gave over $8,000,000.00, most of it during his own lifetime. Interestingly enough, in my research I find that he only gave the Peabody Museum of Natural History, at Yale University the sum of $150,000, which was in 1966.

Cope had no college degree but was associated with the Philadelphia Academy. Cope had to rely upon his own personal fortune in his trips to collect fossils, prepare them and compete with Marsh in the Bone Wars.

At one time, Cope and Marsh were friends. They went so far in friendship as to name dinosaur species after each other. That is a real friendship. As time went on, however, the rivalry increased, and the Marsh thing of embarrassing Cope on the Elasmosaurus certainly didn't help the relationship between them. It was not all Marsh however, who created the ill will. Cope had a reputation for being feisty and having a short fuse, i.e. a quick temper; Marsh moved more slowly in things, being more methodical and was considered as being an introvert, although he had friends in positions of power. Their personalities and temperaments were quite different, which added to their differences.

Actually the Bone Wars were triggered by the 1858 discovery by William Parker Foulke, in the marl pits of Haddonfield, New Jersey, of what was to become the holotype specimen of Hadrosaurus foulkii. Hadrosaurus are what are more commonly called 'Duck-billed Dinosaurs'. This Hadrosaurus foulkii was the first nearly-complete skeleton of a dinosaur ever found. The find created a great deal of interest in paleontology, which was a new field of science at that time. The Hadrosaurus foulkii skeleton was sent to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Joseph Leidy was perhaps the leading paleontologist of the time, and he named and described this new dinosaur in 1858.

JOSEPH LEIDY (September 9, 1823 – 30 April 1891)

Joseph Leidy was a US anatomist/paleontologist and a professor of anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania. He was later also a professor of natural history at Swarthmore College. In 1869 he was the author of a book entitled 'Extinct Fauna of Dakota and Nebraska' which contained a number of species which had not to that time been scientifically described and were not known on the North American continent prior to that time.

Leidy named the first dinosaurs found in the U.S.A. He excavated the first American dinosaur, a Hadrosaurus in 1858. Leidy named Antrodemus (1870, perhaps Allosaurus), Aublysodon (1868), Deinodon (1856), Diplotomodon (1868), and the Hadrosaurus (the first nearly-complete dinosaur skeleton and first-known duck-billed dinosaur, 1858), Palaeoscincus (1856), Thespesius (1856), Trachodon (1856), and Troodon (1856). Leidy was also the first scientist to identify many extinct species of camels, horses, sloths, tigers, and rhinoceroses.

Leidy named the holotype specimen of Hadrosaurus foulkii, which was recovered from the marl pits of Haddonfield, New Jersey. This was the first nearly-complete fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur ever recovered. The Hadrosaurus foulkii was discovered by William Parker Foulke, and Leidy acknowledged this by giving it the species name for this man who found it originally. Foulke was a abolitionist, prison reformer, pamphleteer, philanthropist, lawyer, historian and geologist, the last of which directly led to the discovery of the Hadrosaurus foulkii.

Because Joseph Leidy found that he could not keep up with Cope and Marsh's reckless search for bones, as set out later on this page, Leidy was forced to abandon his own more methodical excavations in the west.

Joseph Leidy 1823-1891

Cope worked for Joseph Leidy. Cope began working in the marl pits of southwest New Jersey. Leidy and Cope together made a number of dinosaur discoveries which included the Laelaps aquilunguis, a carnivorous dinosaur, in 1866. This was the second almost-complete skeleton of a dinosaur. This skeleton contained a hind leg, a portion of a jaw and what Cope described as "a cross between the talon of an eagle and the claw of a lion." From the examination of the skeleton, it was determined that the dinosaur was a two-legged carnivore about 20 feet (6.10 meters) in length. The marl was being dug by commercial firms for use as fertilizer. Leidy and Cope arranged for firms to contact them whenever any fossilized bones were unearthed. Cope moved to Haddonfield, New Jersey with his wife and baby daughter so that he could be near the marl area discoveries. Cope soon became as famous as Leidy.

Marsh meanwhile was a professor at Yale University (known at the time as Yale College), located at New Haven, Connecticut. Marsh was studying fossilized dinosaur tracks in the Connecticut Valley at the time. Marsh was the first U.S. professor of paleontology and these discoveries of Leidy and Cope in New Jersey were of intense interest to him. Marsh paid a visit to Cope with whom he knew from having met at the University of Berlin. Cope gave Marsh a tour of the discovery sites. During the time that Cope and Marsh were digging together, they unearthed some new partial skeletons. The friendship became rivalry shortly afterwards, when Cope learned that Marsh had secretly returned to the marl area and bribed the marl company managers to contact him directly on any new finds.

Both Cope and Marsh were on an expedition to Kansas, where Cope assembled a skeleton of an Elasmosaurus, a marine sauropod. Cope published a paper concerning his discovery. Cope was in haste to announce his new discovery to the world and in his haste attached the head to the wrong end of the Elasmosaurus, i.e. he attached it to the tail end. He published his finding on his finding the Elasmosaurus in 1970. After publication of his paper, Cope discovered the error he had made in preparation of the dinosaur, and immediately, at his own expense, commenced purchasing back all copies of the paper with the illustration showing the serious mistake.

Marsh (the rascal), was not about to miss the opportunity to make sure that this error became widely known, probably to enhance his own scientific esteem and standing, by pointing out his former friend's error. Marsh took delight in exposing Cope's error and thereby humiliating Cope. Marsh went so far as to write that Cope should have named the Elasmosaurus instead, "Steptosaurus," meaning twisted reptile. Marsh had fun at Cope's expense. This became a major part of the enmity between these two former friends.

It should be noted that Marsh made a similar error. The Peabody Museum however did not acknowledge error for more than one hundred years, too late for a gotch against Marsh. What Marsh did was to place the wrong head on a skeleton of a Brontosaurus. Unfortunately the Brontosaurus at the Peabody was used as the basic model for Brontosaurus dinosaurs, all over the world. In 1981 the Peabody finally corrected the error, which resulted in changes having to be made in museums all over the world.

Marsh considered his private bone-hunting turf to be in the Bridger Basin of southwestern Wyoming. After the Elasmosaurus humiliation of Cope, by Marsh, Cope began collecting in this area which Marsh considered his bailiwick. By 1872 there was no longer even any pretense of cordiality between them and open hostility followed ever thereafter. Cope and Marsh each commenced attacking each other in papers and publications.

From the dinosaur finds in New Jersey, the focus switched to the West in 1870s. In 1877 the interest was directed to the Morrison Formation in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado. The Morrison Formation was formed during the Jurassic Epoch, and this formation was on the shore of the Sundance Sea which existed during the Jurassic Epoch of the Mesozoic Era. Both Cope and Marsh were wealthy. Cope was an heir of a wealthy Quaker family and Marsh, as stated above, was the nephew of George Peabody, for whom Yale's Peabody museum is named. Each man used his own personal wealth to fund expeditions each summer. Winters were spent in publishing papers on their respective findings and discoveries.

It was common for paleontologists to have crews which found and dug the fossils and sent them back to the paleontologists to open, prepare for display, study and write about. Usually the golden rule was followed, i.e. he has the gold, makes the rules. Cope and Marsh took credit for the finds, of course . Small bands of fossil hunters, using mule drawn wagons fanned out and sent actual tons of fossils back East to Cope and Marsh.

Accompanying Cope and Marsh's explorations and discoveries were perpetual allegations of spying upon each other and each other's sites; inducing workers to switch to the other; actual stealing of fossils from each other; bribery; and other unsavory things which tended to discredit each other, to neither of their credit. These were not minor incidents. Cope accused Marsh of stealing fossils over and over. Cope was so angry at Marsh that he stole a train full of Marsh's fossils, having the destination changed to his location in Philadelphia. Marsh retaliated by doing things which today would have landed him in Federal prison. Marsh allegedly stole skulls from American Indian burial platforms and trespassed upon American Indian lands, in violation of treaties. Marsh even used dynamite on an occasion, on one of his fossil sites, to prevent it from falling into Cope's hands. Each attacked the other, in an attempt to ruin the other's professional credibility.

The rivalry between them lasted until Cope's death in 1897. By that time both Cope and Marsh had run out of money to keep up the Bone Wars. Cope had some funding from the U.S. Geological Survey and some U.S. Troops even assisted in Cope's digging efforts. However, later Marsh succeeded in getting Cope's federal funding cut off (including his funding from the U.S. Geological Survey). As a result Cope had to sell part of his collection. Marsh ran into financial problems also, and had to mortgage his home, and request from Yale that they provide him a salary to live on.

Cope issued a final challenge at his death. Cope had his skull donated to science so that his brain could be measured, in the hope that in doing so, it would show that his brain would be larger than that of his adversary Marsh. At that time it was believed that the size of the brain was the actual measure of intelligence. We now know that is not true and that things like folds and other more ambiguous things about the brain play more of a role. Marsh did not accept the challenge and it is believed that his brain was not preserved. However, Cope's skull is still preserved.

Who won the 'Bone Wars'? Both men made finds of invaluable scientific importance. Marsh discovered a total of 86 new species and Cope discovered only 56. By numerical count, it appears that Marsh won the Bone Wars. This was partly because Marsh spent a lot of his efforts in the dig at the Como Bluff site, near Medicine Bow, Wyoming. This is one of the richest sources of fossils known to this date, although there are now a lot of dinosaurs being found in China and in the Patagonia part of Argentina.

I have personal knowledge of the digging at Como Bluff, as I was there for a week in 1994 digging with famous Paleontologist, Dr. Robert T. Bakker. This is part of the Morrison formation and I dug at what is known as the Nail Quarry. A dinosaur called 'Big Bertha' was being extracted at that time at one of about three dig sites which were being worked by Dr. Bakker, with assistance from me and his other summer volunteers.

The unfortunate thing for Cope is that many of the dinosaurs which he unearthed were of species that had already been named, a number of them by Marsh. Others he dug were of uncertain identification so he didn't get credit for them. Many of the dinosaurs which Marsh discovered included such well-known dinosaur names as Triceratops, Allosaurus, Diplodocus, and Stegosaurus. While Cope did find some famous synapside and dinosaur discoveries, even those have more obscure names, not readily recognized by most people. These included dinosaurs such as Dimetrodon, Camarasaurus, Coelophysis, and Monoclonius were more obscure.

The discoveries of Cope and Marsh together did do much to define the field of paleontology. At the start of the Bone Wars, there were only nine named species of dinosaurs in North America. After the Bone Wars, the records show something like one hundred fifty species of dinosaurs named and defined. Looking at the findings and pronouncements of the two men, Marsh's position that birds are descended from dinosaurs, has been accepted as correct by most modern paleontologists today, including by my friend and mentor Dr. Bakker. It is now claimed by some paleontologists that what was called "Cope's law" is now almost totally discounted as being without scientific merit. Cope's law claimed that over time specie tend to get larger. From my study, I have found that climate, availability of food, temperature, competition of other specie and a number of other factors tend to govern the size of specie and that time may be a factor in some, but is not the factor nor even the most important factor, if at all.

While the collective discoveries of Cope and Marsh helped define the evolving new filed of science, there were also negative factors in the Bone Wars. The animosity and public behavior of Cope and Marsh harmed the reputation of American paleontology in Europe for decades. One of the most unfortunate effects of the Bone Wars was the use of dynamite and actions, including deliberate sabotage of sites and fossils, by the employees of both men, which destroyed hundreds of potentially important and vital fossil remains excavated and being excavated. There is no way of telling just how much important scientific knowledge was destroyed in the Bone Wars and our understanding of life forms in the regions which Cope and Marsh's teams worked.

Some sources used for this article include the following, to which credit and links are provided.
The Bone Wars - From Wyoming Tales and Trails
Bone Wars from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Como Bluff, Wyoming
Dinosaur Pits
Como Bluff, Wyoming
O.C. Marsh Armed Workers Working in the Bone Cabin Quarry
During the First year 1898


Besides Cope, Marsh and Leidy mentioned above, I need to mention a few other famous Paleontologists who have contributed so much to Paleontology and our knowledge of prehistoric animals, especially dinosaurs.

ROY CHAPMAN ANDREWS, M.A. (January 26, 1884–March 11, 1960)

I remember as a school child reading about Roy Chapman Andrews finding dinosaur bones in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. I was enthralled with such a great find and how wonderful it would be, to be able to some day dig up a dinosaur. However, I never dreamed that some day I would be a dinosaur hunter.

Roy Chapman Andrews was a US fossil hunter and director of the American Museum of Natural History. Andrews was told that there were no openings when he first applied for a job at the American Museum of Natural Science, so he took a job there as a janitor in the taxidermy department and began collecting specimens for the museum. During the next few years, he worked and studied simultaneously, earning a Master of Arts degree in mammalogy from Columbia University. In 1909-1910 he sailed to the East Indies collecting snakes and lizards and observing marine mammals. In 1916-1917 he and his wife led the Asiatic Zoological Expedition of the museum through much of western and southern Yunnan, as well as other provinces of China.

In 1920, Andrews commenced plans for expeditions to Mongolia. In 1922 he drove a fleet of Dodge cars westward from Peking into Mongolia, where the party discovered a fossil of Indricotherium (then named "Baluchitherium"), which was a gigantic hornless rhinoceros. This fossil remains was sent back to the museum, arriving there on December 19. During his four expeditions in the Gobi Desert between 1922 and 1925, Andrews discovered Protoceratops, a nest of Protoceratops eggs, Pinacosaurus, Saurornithoides, Oviraptor and Velociraptor, none of which were known previously. Andrews is allegedly the real person that the movie character of Indiana Jones was patterned after. He is the one who came up with the name 'Outer Mongolia' for that part of the World.

The Boy Scouts of America, in 1927, made Andrews an Honorary Scout. This was a new category of Scouting, created that same year. This distinction was given to "American citizens whose achievements in outdoor activity, exploration and worthwhile adventure are of such an exceptional character as to capture the imagination of boys...". Andrews joined The Explorers Club in New York in 1908, four years after its founding. Later he served as its President from 1931 to 1934. In 1934, Andrews became the director of the American Museum of Natural History. In his 1935 book The Business of Exploring, he wrote "I was born to be an explorer...There was never any decision to make. I couldn't do anything else and be happy." (This section copied verbatim from Wikipedia on Roy Chapman Andrews).

Roy Chapman Andrews Roy Chapman Andrews
Photo courtesy American Museum Of Natural History
Roy Chapman Andrews
Photo courtesy of
the Library of Congress

Mary Ann Mantell-England 1822

In 1822 by Mary Ann Mantell, accompanied Gideon Mantell, her country doctor husband on a house call. He was also an English geologist. While he visited his patient, she took a stroll down a country lane and found a tooth that she presented to her husband after he finished his visit. Whether this story is true can't be confirmed since Gideon Mantell later gave conflicting versions of the story. What is known is that the tooth in question led to the naming of Iguanodon, and Mary Ann collected a number of fossils for her husband. She also illustrated much of his work. The couple did not, however, live happily ever after; after 23 years of marriage, they separated.

Gideon Mantell discovered the second dinosaur genus to be identified, which was called Iguanodon. Gideon Mantell recognized similarities between his fossils and the bones of modern iguanas. Two years later, the Rev William Buckland, a professor of geology at Oxford University, unearthed more fossilized bones of Megalosaurus and became the first person to describe dinosaurs in a scientific journal.

Megalosaurus was the first dinosaur to be formally described, in 1677, when part of a bone was recovered from a limestone quarry at Cornwell near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England. This bone fragment was identified correctly as the lower extremity of the femur of an animal larger than anything living in modern times.

Dinosaur fossils have been known for millennia, although their true nature was not recognized. The Chinese, whose modern word for dinosaur is konglong (or "terrible dragon"), considered them to be dragon bones and documented them as such. For example, Hua Yang Guo Zhi, a book written by Zhang Qu during the Western Jin Dynasty, reported the discovery of dragon bones at Wucheng in Sichuan Province. Villagers in central China have been digging up dinosaur bones for decades, thinking they were from dragons, to make traditional medicine. In Europe, dinosaur fossils were generally believed to be the remains of giants and other creatures killed by the Great Flood. (this information comes from Wikipedia at

Mary Ann Mantell
From Hunting Dinosaurs
by Louie Psihoyos

ROBERT T. BAKKER, PhD (1945-present)

As a school child in the 1940s and 1950s, I read and dreamed about the paleontology trips of Roy Chapman Andrews and the big game hunts of Frank 'Bring em back alive' Buck. As a kid, I even heard Frank Buck speak in person and got his autograph.

Then in 1994 I found some information on a dinosaur dig for under $1,000.00 with an organization called Dinomation. Dinomation was an organization with which Dr. Bakker and Dr. James I. Kirkland were connected, which organization allowed amateurs like me, to spend a week digging in the Morrison formation, at the famous Como Bluff, Wyoming location. Como Bluff was part of the area where Cope and Marsh carried out their digs during the 'Bone Wars'. Medicine Bow is the closest town of any size near Como Bluff and almost the only place to stay in Medicine Bow is at the Virginian Hotel. The Virginian Hotel was famous as the hotel upon which the T.V. series The Virginian. The Virginian Hotel had red velvet bedspreads, headboards and decorations throughout, none of which had probably been dusted, in this dusty town, in a decade or more.

Dinomation and Dr. Bakker did not allow we amateur diggers to take home any of the bones. However, we were given invaluable instructions by Dr. Bob, the name which Dr. Robert T. Bakker was known. He would sit on the ground beside you and show you how to excavate dinosaur fossils. He pulled out his compass and notebook as a bone was found and take a reading on the location, then make a drawing of how the bone lay in the ground, how deep and the compass directions.

So here I was, the kid who idolized Roy Chapman Andrews and never dreamed he would ever really be able to dig up dinosaurs, sitting side by side, for a week, with the most famous contemporary dinosaur paleontologist in the World, digging in the same formation and area where Cope and Marsh carried out their 'Bone Wars' about a century earlier. Unbelievably, my dream had come true!!!! Digging dinosaur bones, with Dr. Robert T. 'Bob' Bakker, at Como Bluff has to be one of the greatest moments of my life.

On that dig Dr. Bob and our crew of volunteers excavated several important dinosaurs from Como Bluff which went into a local museum in Wyoming. Now my friend, Dr. Bakker spends a good bit of time in Houston, as the visiting paleontologist for the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Dr. Bakker has been on the Board of the Proctor Museum of Natural Science for a number of years.

Dr. Bakker, eating a sandwich and lecturing on dinosaurs, simultaneously at Nail Quarry, Como Bluff, Wyoming--August, 1994 Robert T. Bakker, PhD
This is probably a 'glamour shot' of the famous paleontologist
except for the frayed hat
Jurassic Megalosaurus dinosaur from Brushy Basin. Drawn by Dr. Bakker for Terry Proctor at 'The Virginian' Hotel, Medicine Bow in August, 1994 Dr. Robert T. Bakker with Dr. Terry Proctor, Curator of the Proctor Museum of Natural Science holding a dinosaur bone he found and wrapped for transportation

PETER LARSON (1945-present)

Peter Larson is a leading authority on Paleontology today, especially on dinosaurs and specifically Tyrannosaurus Rex (aka T-Rex). He is a man very respected in paleo circles, speaking to many professional scientific groups, to Rock & Mineral clubs, and personally to visitors to the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, Inc. (BHIGR)at Hill City, South Dakota, of which he is President.

Peter received a tremendous dose of injustice at the hands of the Federal government, but because of his wonderful personality, has remained friendly, communicative, and taken what happened to him in stride, which would have embittered, angered and led many a person to spending the rest of their life being hostile over the incident.

1990, a lady with Peter's group, named Sue Hendrickson discovered some interesting fossil dinosaur bones, on land owned by Maurice Williams, an American Indian. Sue worked at the BHIGR for Peter Larson. Peter Larson communicated with Maurice Williams, the landowner where the bones were located. Maurice is an American Indian, although he owns his own land, it was in an Indian Reservation. Peter paid Mr. Williams the sum of $5,000.00 for the right to excavate the dinosaur and take it. This dinosaur later became known as 'Sue', the most complete T-Rex ever excavated. It was named "Sue", in honor the lady who found this T-Rex, Sue Hendrickson and a song about Sue.

In 1991, after "Sue" has been excavated from Mr. William's land and taken to the BHIGR, where it is being prepped (i.e. prepared for display), Sioux indian leaders become alarmed as there are reports that Peter Larson intended to sell "Sue". The Sioux Indian leaders claim that Mr. Williams had no right to sell the rights to the fossil remains of "Sue", as Mr. Williams' land is held by the federal government in trust for him.

On May 14, 1992, the FBI raided the BHIGR. In the raid, the FBI seized and removed a huge number of the files belonging to Peter Larson and the BHIGR; many fossil specimens; and 10 tons of Sue's bones, which were still encased in plaster for preservation. 'Sue' is removed to a garage in Rapid City, South Dakota. Some paleontologists charged that these conditions would create sulfuric acid, which would tend to destroy Sue's old fossilized bones. This is not an uncommon problem in fossils and minerals, for sulfuric acid to form in the material, after removal from the Earth, and for the acid to start to deteriorate the fossil or mineral. Some pyrites are totally destroyed and fall completely apart from the acid breaking the material down.

As a result of the U.S. Government's actions in seizing 'Sue' and seeking and obtaining indictments against Peter Larson, his brother Neil Larson, their partner, Robert Farrar and the BHIGR Secretary, Marion Zenker, all part of the BHIGR. These indictments were not related to the matter of 'Sue' at all. However after the U.S. Government seized the huge quantity of records, from the BHIGR, and went through same, they found that some funds had been taken on trips out of the U.S. and not notified all agencies which needed to be notified, although it is understood that there was some compliance and the other compliance was not intentional but an oversight.

The charges therefore were not concerned with 'Sue' legally, even though it was obvious that was the focal point in the indictments against Peter and the BHIGR personnel. Therefore, Peter Larson and the others at the BHIGR had a desperate need to raise funds for a legal defense of the indictments against all of them. At that time, Irene Offeman (One of the founders of the Paleo Section of HGMS and a long time member) was then the Paleo Curator at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. A deal was made for the HMNS to purchase several dinosaurs from the BHIGR, thereby providing Houston with a wonderful group of dinosaur fossils and and providing Peter and the BHIGR indictees with funds to pay their criminal defense attorney to represent them.

In March, 1995, a federal District Court convicted Peter Larson of two felonies (for failing to disclose cash while crossing U.S. borders) and two misdemeanors (for taking a fossil worth less than $100 and for possessing a fossil, both from federal land). Peter Larson was not convicted of any crime related to "Sue". Peter Larson therefore was sentenced to two years in the Federal Penitentiary, minimum security prison at Florence, Colorado. He was later moved from there to a halfway house in Hill City, South Dakota, where he could work in his beloved Black Hills Institute during the day and report to the halfway house at night.

In 1994 a Federal Court ruled that the dinosaur belonged to Maurice Williams, who turned it over to Sotheby's to sell at auction. On February 21, 1996, Peter Larson starts serving a two-year prison term while his appeal was being processed in court.

In November, 1996, "Sue" arrived in New York City, under FBI seal, and the auction house Sotheby's started preparing 'Sue' for sale. Peter Larson, became concerned that the things which he understood were intended to be done, to prepare 'Sue' for sale by Southeby's would damage "Sue" and while he hoped to still be able miraculously, from prison, raise the funds to purchase 'Sue' back at the auction, and complaining to many persons, about the fact that the hasty preparation might destroy the remains of 'Sue'.

This entire matter would make a great comic opera. The Federal Government originally determined it had a duty to protect fossils from private collectors (never mind that more fossils are lost each year to erosion than human collectors can possibly collect) and that Maurice Williams didn't have the right to sell "Sue" to Peter Larson and the Black Hills Institute in 1990, even though he apparently owned his land. Then a Federal Court essentially determined that Maurice Williams did have the right to sell the T-Rex "Sue" to the highest bidder, in an auction conducted by Sotheby's, six years later.

Did Maurice Williams have any compassion on what happened to the man who paid him for "Sue" originally? Not that we know of. Of course Peter Larson did pay for the right to dig and carry off 'Sue'; then he partially prepped 'Sue' before the U.S. Government swooped in and seized 'Sue'; then Peter had to see thousands of pages of BHIGR documents, most not related to 'Sue' seized by the U.S. Government, along with other fossils belonging to the BHIGR; then Peter had to spend huge amounts of money to defend himself and see the BHIGR dinosaurs sold to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to get those defense funds (a good thing for Houston and at the time a good thing for Peter); and the final irony--did Peter ever get an apology from anyone or a thank you for his money and work getting 'Sue' excavated and partially prepped, only to see 'Sue' go to the Chicago Field Museum, making Maurice Williams a rich man and neither Peter nor the BHIGR to my knowledge ever received a cent?

Ultimately on October 4, 1997, "Sue" was sold to the Chicago Field Museum (Museum of Natural History in Chicago) for the top bid of $7.6 million, with a total price, after factoring in the buyer's premium to Sotheby's, plus taxes, of $8,362,500.

The happy ending is that Peter Larson is today a respected paleontologist who is considered one of the top, if not the top expert on T-Rex dinosaurs, speaking nationwide to Rock & Gem Clubs, Mid-America Paleontological Society.

Peter Larson has been on the Board of the Proctor Museum of Natural Science for a couple of years.

Terry Brawner, Pres. Proctor Museum 2005/2006 with Peter Larson at BHIGR in Hill City, South Dakota Black Hills Institute of Geological Studies' Office and Museum
Hill City, South Dakota
Terry Proctor, Curator Proctor Museum 1989-present with Peter Larson at BHIGR in Hill City, South Dakota with Giant Tortoise

PAUL SERENO, PhD. (1957-present)

Paul C. Sereno, PhD. is a Professor of the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago. He was born on October 11, 1957 in Aurora, Illinois. He has a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Northern Illinois University and a Geological Sciences Degree: M.A. Columbia University; M.Phil. Columbia Univ; and PhD Columbia Univ.

Dr. Sereno has held five positions prior to his present position as a Professor at U.of Chicago since 1998. In 1988, 1991 and 1996 he led expeditions to Argentina; in 1993, 1997 and 2000 he led expeditions to Niger; in 1995 he led an expedition to Morocco; in 1997 he led a reconnaissance expedition to Australia; in 2001 he led an expedition to India; and in 2001 he led an expedition to Inner Mongolia. Dr. Sereno leaves on Friday, March 24, 2006 on an expedition to Tibet.

Dr. Sereno's curriculum runs 12 pages on the internet. You can see it at Although just over 50 years old, he has accomplished great feats for his young years. Paul has discovered new species of dinosaurs on five continents. He has also found human remains in Africa, which is not as well known as his dinosaur and crocodile discoveries.

Dr. Sereno gave a lecture on March 21, 2006 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. At that time, he brought with him a new, extremely interesting dinosaur skull, which he called the 'Darth Vader' dinosaur. When you look at it you can see why. This dinosaur has the largest eye orbits of any known dinosaur. However, the mouth bones are extremely weak and it apparently skimmed algae from the surface of ponds. Paul Sereno was named in People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People (1997), and many more honors and accolades.

Terry Proctor, J.D., Proctor Museum Curator (R)
Paul Sereno, PhD, Paleontologist and
Terry Brawner, 2005/2006 President Proctor Museum.
Dr. Sereno is holding the 4th left rear
foot metatarsal of a Hadrosaurus brought back
by the two Terrys in Eastern Montana in 2005
While visiting the Houston Museum of Natural Science on March 21, 2006 , Dr. Sereno brought with him a replica of a new dinosaur find, which he called the 'Darth Vader' dinosaur. We can't imagine why, but here is a photo taken of it by PMNS Curator Terry Proctor.

PATRICK J. LEWIS, PhD (19??-present)

Patrick J. Lewis is an Assoc. Professor of Paleo???, in the Dept. of Biological Sciences, at Sam Houston State University.
Dr. Lewis has published extensive papers on paleontology. Patrick has been involved in the Fayum, which is an Eocene/Oligocene fossil locality located in the eastern Sahara Desert of Egypt. His involvement with the site began in 1999 and has included five field seasons as part of the expedition team led by Dr. Elwyn Simons of Duke University. In the summer of 2007 he was in the Sahara Desert of Egypt, in which trip they found Aegyptopithecus zeuxis, which is a large monkey-like primate often recovered from the Fayum deposits. It is believed to be the oldest yet known primate. Also found at this location were more species of prehistoric primates, in one place, than anyplace else on Earth. This summer, i.e. 2008, Dr. Lewis has been in Botswana digging in a cave. He has reported to Terry Proctor, Curator of the PMNS that he has found the oldest true elephant and believes to have found the oldest black Rhino.

In a July 10, 2008 email from Dr. Lewis to Terry Proctor, he said "The South Africa work has produced the earliest true elephant in Africa, the first Megalosaurus (large bovid species) in Southern Africa, and what we think is the earliest Black Rhino in Southern Africa as well. The cave site in Botswana is really beautiful, although not an easy place to work -- I'm still bruised up. We we found some good fossils in the cave that are telling us about how the climate has changed in Botswana over the last couple of million years.

Dr. Lewis is one of the new younger paleontologist in America who has really had the experience in the field and made his mark in this scientific field of endeavor. The paleontology community will be keeping their eye on his work in the future we feel sure.

Dr. Lewis is now on the Board of the Proctor Museum of Natural Science in 2008 for his first term.

Aegyptopithecus zeuxis is a large monkey-like primate often recovered from the Fayum deposits.
Photo courtesy of the Duke Division of Fossil Primates
Dr. Lewis discusses the Botswana Cave project with Dr. Monte Thies (SHSU) and Mr. Gabadirwe (BNM) before entering Bone Cave in the Koanaka Hills. May of 2007-Dr. Lewis began working at the Meloding Railway Cut as project co-director with Dr. Darryl de Ruiter (Texas A&M). This is an early Pliocene deposit in the Free State Province of South Africa. Dr. Lewis' group confirmed that the caves in the Koanaka Hills contain rich fossil deposits. The internal breccia pictured here contains many small mammal jaws and post-cranial elements.

There are many other paleontologist and scientists whom we could and should list, but this is going to run far over the time limit for which it was prepared. Thank you for your attention and interest. I hope this provided information and inspiration to those of you who remain in constant awe of the varieties of life which God has created and is creating upon this planet Earth in the 4.6 billion years the Planet has existed.